The College Golf Road Map, now in its second edition from The First Tee home office staff, contains useful information for participants who are interested in playing college golf, and their parents as well.
There are more than 12,000 men and 7,000 women playing college golf today, and a small number of them receive partial to full scholarships while in school. Those figures represent only about 8 percent of male or female high school golfers who successfully compete at the college level, so the road is narrow.
The process to do so, therefore, is a long and difficult one, and requires much advance preparation, training, and playing in competition from a young age. Priority is placed on 18-hole multiple round tournaments with large fields, and placement within the final field is a key factor in a coach’s decision to look at a candidate for scholarship or selection on a team.
Obviously, the participants who are most successful will have been playing for several years by the time they start college, and will have sought out the proper opportunities to play.
In addition, there is of course an academic component to college golf readiness, as schools, at whatever competition level, prize scholar athletes who maintain high grade point averages while playing. It is good to remember that in college, golf is a two season sport, so the number of credits a student can reasonably carry during spring and fall semesters, while earning good grades and keeping up with tournament travel schedules may be limited. Further, the balance among practice time, social and extra-curricular activities may require carrying smaller loads in season and attending summer or inter-sessions to make up the course work required for graduation. Advanced planning is a requirement.
Whatever the case, this handbook will give parents and participants a solid start toward answering the above questions, and will point out additional resources that should be useful. If your child has any inclination to play varsity golf in college, this is a must read.